Tales from the Cultural Wilderness - Journal

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2002-02-19 Entry: "Snowman"

Enterprise reached the episode with the comet last night. It looked like it was going to be quite a dull episode, but actually had some good moments. The captain is obviously having a lot of fun out there, and they decide to examine a comet just because it's bigger than any other they've discovered. Reed and the black guy who'se name I can't remember get to go onto the surface and build a snowman. Meanwhile Trip gets to read T'pol's personal mail and apologise, and everyone gets to send a message back home to earth. The scene where they answer the kids questions is great.

But. There had to be a but. The franchise isn't looking too healthy. Enterprise keeps looking like it'll have an ongoing storyline, but so far we've had two episodes with promise - the pilot (where the whole Suliban temporal Cold War bit was suggested, and then explained in total detail so there wasn't really any more to discover), and the one with the Andorians in the temple, which set up future conflicts between them and the Vulcans (with eventual resolution and founding of the Federation). The rest have been throwaway. We're a long way in the past, and yet they can travel at warp 4 already. They seem to be able to get all the way across the galaxy in next to no time. A couple of weeks ago, they negotiated with some aliens to give the Klingons holodecks. In a few weeks time, there'll be an episode with some Ferengi (who aren't supposed to be met until the Next Generation).

I'm all for continuing storylines (and continuity) - I would have thought something would have been learned from Deep Space Nine and Babylon 5, but no, we've got the same old Trek. The goofy doctor who keeps showing promise and then turns into a Neelix clone. The same sappy storylines (which are supposed to be fresh because it's the first time humanity have done them - unfortunately, it's the twelth time humanity has been subjected to them as television episodes).

Unfortunately, we're going to get the same old tat for seven years. I would have hoped that Scott Bakula, with his executive producer status, or whatever it is, would be able to turn it around a little, but so far we've got more Voyager with a different ship and a crew that have had a facelift but no personality change.

I'm not sure you can kill a franchise with as much money behind it as the Star Trek one, especially when it's pulling in modestly average viewing figures, but it would have been nice, if when deciding to overhaul the series, they actually had done!

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